Cirò – the tasting notes

This collection of 41 tasting notes complements Cirò – the past and Cirò – the future.

Notes from a flight of seven wines from different producers spanning 1969 to 2013 are followed by tasting reports on some of the most important producers, listed in the order in which they are mentioned in Walter's two introductory articles, as below, with the wines presented in the order they were tasted, but you can change the order within the groups.

Librandi
Ippolito 1845
Sergio Arcuri
'A Vita
Cataldo Calabretta
Menat

The historic flight of wines

Ippolito 1845, Classico Riserva 1969 Cirò

Deep amber. Deep smoky nose of Sun-Maid raisins and treacle with a hint of nuts and raw meat. Soy sauce. Clearly some oxidation but also complexity and an almost youthful concentration. A little like a sweet wine and I detect some residual sugar. Nutty, dried-fruit palate with soft grainy tannins and good acidity that is not too marked. Past its peak, but not dead by any stretch of the imagination. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
1975
2008
16

Caparra & Siciliani, Classico Superiore Riserva 1973 Cirò

Very dark amber. Very dense and deep nose with notes of ginger, raisins and nuts, but underneath there is still a shimmer of fruit. Baked apple, herb liqueur, a touch of vermouth. Amazing concentration on the palate. Supple and almost succulent acidity and lots of beautiful, powdery tannins and with plenty of substance. Clearly aged, and viscous! Nuts and raisins and complexity. Past its peak but still long, while oxidation has not yet damaged the wine. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
1980
2012
16.5

Librandi, Duca Sanfelice Classico Superiore Riserva 1985 Cirò

Deep amber ruby. Smoky and rasiny with subdued fruit underneath at first but this is in need of taking deep breaths to show its true character. Depth and density on the nose even if this is no longer showing primary fruit. Fantastic acidity and much more complex on the palate than the nose. Vibrant nutty fruit and bags of grainy tannins adding interest. Has peaked but still lots of interest here. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
1998
2014
17

Zito, Alceo Classico 1999 Cirò

Deep, almost impenetrable ruby. Dusty oak, like oak sawdust, and vanilla muting the wild-strawberry fruit. This is a case where the quality of the fruit is so high it has resisted the oak, but barely. Succulent and fresh while the oak has caused a little oxidation but Gaglioppo is extremely forgiving. Vibrant acidity, cherry and dried fruit and a layer of long powdery tannins. Great wine but Gaglioppo doesn't show affinity with new oak. I suspect international varieties were added to the blend. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
2004
2022
16

Senatore, Arcano Classico Superiore Riserva 2007 Cirò

Brownish ruby suggesting accelerated evolution. Ripe, slightly singed fruit but great concentration on the nose. Gorgeous acidity and then a little muted because of the overripeness, but this is still long and with bags of slightly drying tannins. Clearly the result of a hot year, or perhaps a harvest that was too much delayed. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2009
2012
16

Sergio Arcuri, Più Vite Classico Superiore Riserva 2011 Cirò

Mature amber-ruby with bricky rim. Deep nose with notes of raisins and a whiff of saffron and tar and lots of minerals. Succulent acidity and quite a bit of firm tannins. Very long and a bit dominated by the tannins, but this is not at its peak yet. (WS)

Drink
2022
2032
16 +

Cataldo Calabretta, Classico Superiore 2013 Cirò

Just mid ruby which is showing some development but in this aspect it reminds me so much of Nebbiolo. Savoury red fruit with hints of bacon. Very tannic, again reminding me of Nebbiolo, and long and muscular. Still not at its peak. (WS)

14%
Drink
2018
2028
17 ++

Librandi

Librandi, Segno Librandi 2018 Cirò

100% Greco di Bianco. This new line is aimed at restaurants because the same wine is also sold to large distributors and it started to affect their sales in the restaurant trade.
Very pale straw. Pear and lemon and tropical-fruit notes of cool fermentation. A fresh summer wine or aperitif. (WS)

12.5%
Drink
2019
2022
15.5

Librandi, Critone 2018 IGT Val di Neto

90% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Hand harvested. Entry-level price! This wine provides the estate’s financial basis.
Straw yellow. Bread crust, apple and melon on the nose and with hints of softly perfumed, white fruit. White-fruit palate with notes of lemon and a spritzy finish. Refreshing. (WS)

12.5%
Drink
2019
2022
16

Librandi, Efeso 2017 IGT Val di Neto

100% Mantonico. The variety achieves good alcohol levels in the final wine, while retaining lots of acidity. It starts fermentation in stainless steel and finishes in barrique (new and second-use), in which it is subsequently aged for eight months.
Straw yellow. Bread crust and leesy notes hovering over ripe apple fruit. Ripe, white fruit intermingles with dry oak notes. Very long and with bags of ripe white fruit, but stylish. (WS)

14%
Drink
2019
2024
16 +

Librandi, Terre Lontane 2018 IGT Val di Neto

Gaglioppo with 10% Cabernet Franc. Some tanks are bled and some press wine added. ‘When we planted the international varieties, also Cabernet Franc, we never wanted to add this to any of our main wines and hence we created Terre Lontane as a [rosé] mirror to Critone.’ 140,000 bottles produced.
Pale salmon. Fresh strawberry nose with a hint of tropical fruit and of lees. Fresh, clean and with integrated acidity. A wine suitable for the beach. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
2019
2022
15.5

Librandi, Segno Librandi Rosato 2018 Cirò

Apparently, rosato is the most-consumed wine in Calabria. 100% Gaglioppo. 12 hours on the skins. 350,000 bottles produced.
More interesting and more depth than Terre Lontane. Fresh strawberry fruit and tropical white fruit hints. Finely textured strawberry fruit finish. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
2019
2022
16

Librandi, Segno Librandi Classico 2017 Cirò

100% Gaglioppo. Very short maceration time of four to five days, presumably to avoid too much tannin. Aged for a year in stainless steel.
Mid ruby. Cherry fruit with savoury notes and a peppery prickle. Supple cherry and raspberry fruit with crunchy, spicy tannins. Lots of personality for an entry-level wine. (WS)

13.5%
Drink
2019
2023
16

Librandi, Duca Sanfelice Classico Superiore 2015 Cirò

A considerable part of the vineyard that is the source for this wine is planted ad alberello (as bush vines). ‘My father told me that young vines are only to be used for rosato. They are too exuberant, and the bunches are compact, which prevents the grapes on the inside of the bunches ripening. Only when the vines get older can you keep the wine longer on the skins’, is how Paolo Librandi explained the difference between their rosatos and this full-blown, 100% Gaglioppo red. 10 days on the skins and aged only in stainless steel and concrete. ‘For me 2015 was a serious year.’
Lustrous mid ruby. Pretty nose of cherry and ripe raspberry fruit and with proper depth. Great Gaglioppo expression with lots of fruit and powdery, long tannins and hints of liquorice. Lightness of touch on the finish and with spicy tannins. (WS)

14%
Drink
2019
2024
17

Librandi, Magno Megonio 2015 IGT Val di Neto

100% Magliocco. 14 days on the skins and aged for 12 months in barrique (50% new), followed by a year in bottle.
Concentrated, youthful ruby. Exciting nose of savoury, spicy oak and deep cherry with a hint of soy sauce. Concentrated cherry fruit and with almost entirely integrated oak. Firm, gripping tannins, which will need a couple of years to become more mellow. Carries its 15% with ease. (WS)

15%
Drink
2022
2030
17 +

Librandi, Gravello 2016 IGT Val di Neto

60% Gaglioppo, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lustrous mid ruby. Pretty nose of oak, marasca cherry and cassis and with a peppery edge. Hints of damson. Quite concentrated and deep with dry oak notes and lots of powdery tannins that are a little drying right now. Creamy notes and quite gripping on the finish, but this needs at least another year or so to come round. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2020
2030
17

Librandi, Le Passule Passito 2018 IGT Val di Neto

100% Mantonico. From late-harvested grapes that have been dried on racks for 15 days. Fermented in barrique (50% new).
Golden yellow. At first, medicinal hints and saffron, then opens up to savoury notes of new oak and honeyed apricot. The oak still needs to integrate a little. Much more stitched together on the palate than on the nose, with honeyed apricot fruit and hints of saffron. Luscious and yet not too sweet. Well balanced and long. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2020
2026
17

Ippolito 1845

The wines...

Menat's qvevri cellar in Melissa, Calabria